My Favorite Canon Camera Setting: How to Set Up Dual AF Buttons

Canon's pro body cameras have a number of ways to fine tune the autofocus system, however much of it is behind a few button presses, switches, or menus. This is how to set up direct button access to multiple autofocus modes.

In the latest video featured on my YouTube channel, I'm using a Canon 7D Mark II to show one of my essential customizations for fast switching the camera's autofocus settings. If you're a sports, action, or wildlife photographer where things happen quickly and sometimes unpredictably, this trick is guaranteed to save your butt.

The idea here, much like I shared in a previous video about customizing Sony cameras, is to remap the AE lock button (the star) to instead activate autofocus. And not only activate autofocus, but to have an independent focus area and/or focus mode, AF case setting, and starting AF point. Combined with the three custom shooting modes (C1, C2, C3 on the dial), this dual autofocus button setup can be categorized three ways so you're always ready to nail the shot.

Have you used this dual AF button customization before? Let us know your use case in the comments below.

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Bert McLendon's picture

Oooo nice tip! Thanks for sharing!

Caleb Kerr's picture

Great tip! Will definitely play with configuring my camera this way.

Mike Stern's picture

Settings for Canon cameras? Is this an article from archives of 2014? Why write a new article for systems people don’t buy anymore. Time evolves to future not to past.

Marko Medić's picture

We're all dinosaurs here, and we're doing our thing in our slow, archaic way, thou modern man!

Mike Stern's picture

0 pictures in portfolio. Hahaha

Never thought about putting my portfolio in my account here.
Hope you like some of the photographs I have put some years ago on my website as well as paintings and other artistic work:

Jean-Philippe Boude's picture

wow nice website,looks like its from the 90's, you should take your own advice and update it before upgrading your camera xD

Mike Dixon's picture

I've been using this since I got the 5D4 and it's so helpful when shooting birds.

Ken Poore's picture

Good tip --
I remapped the AE button to change to AI Servo mode, and left the half-press on the shutter button to do AF. This way, if I need to get an action shot of a person (or one of my dogs) while on the trail, I can jump into AI Servo to track the subject. Nice feature is that it only goes into AI Servo mode while the AE button is pressed, and returns to One Shot.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

I, on the other hand, remapped the AE button to have autofocus only, and my shutter button to have exposure / shutter release. And I'm shooting AI Servo 100% of the time now (mostly landscapes). That way, the moment I press the AE button I'm focusing (all the time), and the moment I release it I have something like One Shot option. ;)

As for other types - I've mapped the most automatic way of focus to my depth of field button. If I'm doing something static and suddenly something rushes into my frame and I want to capture it, I just have to press depth of field button. It automatically locks on the moving subject and follows it. The only thing left is to press the shutter button. :)

Erpillar Bendy's picture

I absolutely hate back button focusing. It's never quick enough for me, so I would never disable AF on my shutter button.

Ted Mercede's picture

For me, back button focus was a game changer. This is for shooting portraits/headshots and such, but if you are shooting action, I can see how that might be an issue. Back button focusing is definitely slower on each individual shot than the half-step AF on the shutter button. So different tools/functions for applications...

Léo Fontanel's picture

Hello and thank you for the video. Sadly the Detail Setting feature is not present on the 6D2 :(